Lifelong Mt. Airy resident Tamika Nealy-Farmbry, an associate broker for Elfant Wissahickon Realtors in Chestnut Hill, points to one of the company’s local billboards.

by Len Lear

Growing up in Mt. Airy, Tamika Nealy-Farmbry, now 45, aspired to negotiate professional sports contracts. She never quite achieved that goal (“It was very difficult for a woman to make it in that field”), but the holder of a Master’s degree in Strategic Leadership from Neumann University in Aston, Delaware County, and many years of involvement in the historical African-American fraternity/sorority system does now negotiate real estate contracts.

“The hardest part of this work is dealing with so many different personalities,” said Tamika, an associate broker for Elfant Wissahickon Realtors in Chestnut Hill, last week, “but I’m a people person, so I end up masking so many new friends. The best advice I ever got was to always listen to clients. It is important that people be validated. There is a need for us to listen closely to them and get to know them as people, not just as clients.”

Tamika, a graduate of Lankenau High School in upper Roxborough, has earned prestigious real estate professional designations, including Certified Residential Specialist, Accredited Buyers’ Representative and Seniors’ Real Estate Specialist. She returned to college after having two children, juggling motherhood, graduate studies and real estate sales at the same time.

Her first job in real estate 17 years ago was with Eichler & Moffly Realtors in Chestnut Hill. “I have the last real estate licensed ever granted by David Eichler,” she said. (Eichler, a former English Department chairman at Chestnut Hill Academy, founded the firm in 1960 with William T. Moffly III, who retired in 1993. William L. Morse purchased the firm in 1995 and became president, with Eichler remaining chairman of the board until his death in 2003 at age 90. The national realty firm Prudential Fox & Roach bought Eichler & Moffly for an undisclosed price in February, 2012.)

“I admired David Eichler so much. He was an amazing man. I loved his work ethic and leadership skills. He went to work every day in his 80s, and he told so many great stories! He designed his own house in Chestnut Hill, which was like a Hollywood palace. He had a fabulous life! We were just talking about him in the office this morning.”

The associate broker, a lover of New Orleans, oatmeal raisin cookies, Colonial houses and relaxing vacations, decided to become a realtor 17 years ago to help her cousin build her business (only part time) and decided to stick with it when she discovered that it fit her personality like a tailor-made suit. She was with Eichler & Moffly for 10 years and then Elfant Wissahickon for the last seven.

“My cousin, who is now a nurse, was right about that. I love helping people at various stages of their lives, including estate sales. Each step is important. I love being a part of all that. And I love learning about Philadelphia history, and housing is a big part of that. My sales are all over the city, including million-dollar houses in Mt. Airy and Roxborough.”

Tamika is a member of the Omega Omega Graduate Chapter of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Her participation in leadership and professional organizations extends to membership in the NAACP, National Association of Women Executives and Wives Behind the Badge.

Tamika’s husband, Aaron Farmbry Sr., also a Mt. Airy lifer, has been a Philadelphia police officer (now a sergeant) for 24 years. They have two children: Aaron, 25, who is finishing up a Master’s degree at Columbia University, and Tiyana-Erin, 24, who is finishing up a Master’s degree at St. John’s University in New York.

For more information, email tamika@ewrhomes.com Len Lear can be reached at lenlear@chestnuthilllocal.com

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